There are many skills that can be developed in life if you are able to see yourself doing whatever it is. Ansel Adams (1902-1984) wrote about the process of prevision or “pre-visualization” as the first step in making a fine art photograph. The photo he called, “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” is an example of Adams working extensively with a difficult negative to finally get a print that matched the image he had in his mind when he looked at the scene and made the photograph. As he looked at the scene that evening in 1942, the light on the crosses was fading fast and he couldn’t find his light meter. He had to calculate the exposure as best he could from what he knew of the luminance of the moon. The foreground was underexposed and the highlights in the clouds were overexposed making the negative difficult to print. He worked with the negative over several years before he finally got the image that he wanted, the one that captured what he saw in his minds’ eye at the moment he released the shutter on his camera.
“Moonrise” became Ansel Adams’ most famous photograph. There are about 1,600 original prints in existence, all made by Ansel in his darkroom. One sold at Sotheby’s in 2006 for over $600,000.
The same sort of pre-visualization process is applicable to all sorts of endeavors that one might seek to accomplish. As Bill Whittle says in the following video, it starts with imagination.